Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Lou apologizes; Marquis status quo

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Lou Piniella apologized this morning for ``overreacting’’ to Jason Marquis’ assertion that he’d rather be traded than pitch out of the bullpen. Marquis said he doesn’t regret what he said Saturday -- ``I don’t think I said anything negative.’’

And ultimately nothing changed overnight about Marquis’ status or the likelihood he’ll be traded regardless by the end of camp if the Cubs can get a team to bite off at least most of what's left of the $16.25 million he’s owed on the final two years of his contract.

The two met this morning in Piniella’s office, and both said things were smoothed over. But Marquis still considers himself a starter and wouldn’t address the alternative.

``I’m committed to the Chicago Cubs first and foremost,’’ Marquis said this morning. ``I want to pitch here and that’s the reason I signed here. So I’m going to gout there and try to get better day by day and work on the things I need to work on. And [if he doesn’t win a rotation job] we’ll cross that path when we get to it.’’

Marquis said Saturday he would rather ``take my services elsewhere’’ to start if the Cubs didn’t want him as a starter this year.

``Look, I can understand why a player feels that way,’’ Piniella said this morning. ``The whole thing here basically is I wasn’t expecting it. It sort of surprised me. But I should have handled it better, and I apologize.’’

That doesn’t mean Marquis has been assured anything beyond a chance to win one of two rotation openings, with Jon Lieber, Ryan Dempster and Sean Marshall also in the mix.

``Look, we’re going to continue to go with the way we’ve been doing it,’’ Piniella said. ``Everybody’s going to get an opportunity here to start and we’ll see what happens toward the end of spring training. Look, competition is a part of this thing. We’ve got seven very capable people here to start. Is that my fault? No. That’s what we have, and I’ve got to give everybody a chance.’’

Piniella said his angry response Saturday to Marquis’ comments -- ``if that’s the case, he can go somewhere else’’ and ``you know, that galls me about Marquis’’ – were influenced by his mood after the team ‘s poor play in a loss to the Angels.

``I overreacted to it, that’s all there is to it,’’ he said. ``I’m human, and when I’m wrong I admit I’m wrong. And I should have handled the situation differently. I recognized it after I said it, but what can you do. On the way home I said, `Well, I stuck my foot in my mouth.’ But I already had stuck it, so what do you do?

``And, again, we’re going to give him every opportunity to compete and win himself a job, because. .. Basically, I like Jason, I really do. It has nothing to do with [anything] personal or otherwise, but we’ve got to be fair, too, and we’ve got to let people compete and let the process take hold.’’

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9 Comments

I'm surprised Lou apologized because I don't see where he did anything wrong. Marquis wants to be promised something without earning it. Shows what kind of teammate he is, saying he has no intention of going to the bullpen. Well, if he can't get it done starting, bye, bye. It would be no great loss. Now, the Cubs have to find a sucker to lose this clown and his $16 million contract. Sick of these overpaid, underperforming, crybaby athletes who lack the guts to go out, compete and win the job instead of whining about not having it handed to him on a platter.

I agree with Kent. Lou doesn't need to apologize. These guys are unbelievable. Can you imagine guys like Jenkins, Hands, Holtzman, Pappas, Hooten, Sutcliffe, Eckersley, Maddux being afraid to wage competition. They thrived on it. Win , lose or draw they were/are(Mad Dog's still at it) not afraid of the battle. I really do wish our pencil pushers would have been willing to battle to get us fans Mr. Santana to head the rotation instead of having to give so much power to guys like Marquis on the back end of it.

Actually, I was surprised the Cubs got as much mileage as they did from Marquis last year. I thought it was a terrible move to sign a guy fresh off a 6.00+ ERA season to a mult-year deal - and a pretty big one at that. Ranks right up there with the trade for Trachsel, but don't get me started on that one.

I'm not totally sold on either Dempster or Lieber - I'd rather see Marshall and Hart in the rotation - but no matter which two of those four fill the 4 and 5 spots, I'll be stunned if they're not better than Marquis.

By the way, I'm glad Hendry didn't go out on a limb for Santana. If two years and $16 mil. seems like a lot, imagine holding a contract for 6 years and $137 mil. when Santana's arm falls off about half way through this year.

I agree Scott the guy is a total head case.One minute he's sailing thru 5 innings,then he hits a batter and the next thing you know he looses command of the strike zone,walking guys and before you know it it a 6 run inning and Lou is yanking him. All because he's not mentally tough to shake off mistakes.We've seen this movie way too much last year.I'd trade him for a 6 pack and 2 team players to be named later.

Jason Marquis needs to shut up and pitch. He's a mediocre pitcher at best who is lucky to have a good contract. It's too bad he has diminished his trade value by opening his big mouth but if I were the Cubs, I would move his tail as soon as I could. I am sick and tired of these overpaid stiffs wanting to be promised a spot instead of competing for one.

I was disappointed that Lou apologized for his remarks because I thought he was right on the mark. I really feel that he would have been the fifth starter on this roster because I don't have a lot of faith in Jon Lieber. I am a big Sean Marshall fan and I hope this opens up a spot for him.

A Cubs fan gets hit in the head by a foul ball and is rushed to the hospital with a brain injury. At the hospital, the doctor tells his family that they can buy one of three brains from a Cubs pitcher. He says Ted Lilly’s brain costs $100, Ryan Demspter's brain costs $1000 and Jason Marquis’ brain costs $1,000,000. The family asks the doctor why the first two pitcher’s brains cost so little and Marquis' brain is so much? The doctor responds “because Marquis' brain has never been used!!!”

Why in the world should Lou apologize? He said exactly what any Cub fan would say -- there's the door. Signing Marquis in the first place was a big mistake, but now that you have him, make him earn a spot in the rotation. I am sick of athletes feeling an "entitlement" to pitch, to play, to do anything. Earn your spot by playing well, serving the team, and continuing to improve. This is not rocket science folks, but apparently Jason believes because he has a contract he is "entitled" to pitch in the rotation. Lou was right the first time -- go somewhere else.

z hill lilly hart and gallager should be the starters theriot leads off fuko 2nd sori 4 or 5 soto 6 drossa 7 pie or patterson or colvin 8 more hit and run and bunts and steals no moe crap and excuses its time to shine go cubs go

Hey Darryl:

It's MR. LIEBER to you!

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on March 2, 2008 2:45 PM.

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